Conservatives Deny Police Cuts: LBC Fact Check

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told LBC that the Conservatives are not cutting funding to the police. But is she correct? Here's LBC's Fact-check.

Police officers
Picture: iStock

Ms Bradley told Nick Ferrari: "We are not cutting funding to the police. It's the Conservatives who actually protected funding to the police in 2015 while the Labour party wanted to cut police funding by 10%. We've increased funding on counter-terrorism and we make sure the powers are in place."

Nick queried: "So you don't say there are any police cuts under the Conservatives."

Ms Bradley responded: "I've not said there weren't police cuts in the past, but the police funding has been protected for the future."

So is the Culture Secretary correct? We asked Full Fact, the UK's independent, non-partisan factchecking organisation, to investigate.

Claim: Conservatives protected funding to the police in 2015.

Fact-check: Government funding to the police will fall this parliament, but local forces can raise the difference themselves.

The 2015 Spending Review promised to “protect overall police spending in real terms over the Spending Review period”—up to 2019/20, and that’s reflected in more detailed estimates the government has published.

The central government part of that is actually expected to fall in real terms. It only stays flat overall if local Police and Crime Commissioners raise the maximum they’re allowed to.

Claim: The Police budget has been cut since 2010

Fact-check: Police funding fell from 2010/11 to 2015/16. That’s according to estimates compiled by the National Audit Office. Overall funding fell by 18%, taking inflation into account. That compares to a 31% increase in funding between 2000/01 and 2010/11.

That 18% isn’t what the government itself has cut from the budget. Direct government funding has fallen by 25% over the same period, which is what David Dimbleby is referring to. Most of the police budget comes from central government, but forces can also raise money locally via council taxes and this pot increased slightly over the period. That’s why, overall, it’s an 18% loss of funding.

This varies a lot locally. That 18% average ranges from a 12% fall in Surrey police force to a 23% fall in Northumbria. This is mainly because some forces, like Northumbria, rely more heavily on government grants and don’t raise as much locally. Surrey, by contrast, was the only police force last year to raise more money locally than it got from the government.

How Police Numbers Have Changed Over Time
How Police Numbers Have Changed Over Time. Picture: Full Fact

Claim: We've increased funding on counter-terrorism

Fact-check: The government plans to spend 30% more on counter-terrorism by the end of the decade.

A small part of government police funding is ring-fenced for counter-terrorism, but the allocations to local areas aren’t published for security reasons.

In the 2015 Spending Review, the government committed to “spend 30% more overall in real terms on key counter-terrorism capabilities over the Parliament”. This was reiterated by Theresa May in response to this week’s terror attacks in London.

In 2017/18, £675 million has been set aside for counter-terrorism from government resource funding of about £9.2 billion.'

Thank you for Full Fact for the information.